Should we tolerate hate?

I know the answer seems obvious, but I’m not so sure it is.

A group of racist protestors in Calgary were confronted by a group of anti-racism protestors. They exchanged insults for awhile, and eventually there was some limited violence. However, the police made quick work of it to defuse the situation.

On their own, the racists were a group that may have had no inclination toward violence–they just wanted to get their point of view across. I may not agree with their point of view, but I have to respect their desire to express it. I can walk away and ignore it. I can make sure that people know how I feel about their point of view.

But I don’t have to confront them, which is what the anti-racist group did.

Do they hate racism? Yes. Do they hate the racists? Yes. And that’s the problem.

You cannot fight hatred with more of the same. Doing so almost always leads to violence. In the end, the anti-racists are discriminating against the racists. They are singling out a subgroup of people to speak out against in a hateful way. Yes, they’re doing the exact same thing as the racists. How ironic. And how…obvious.

Should we tolerate hate? Yes, perhaps we should. As long as it doesn’t lead to violence, hatred is just a point of view.

And I wouldn’t want to get caught up in it.